Social innovation Modelling Approaches to Realizing Transition to Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (SMARTEES)

Project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme
Grant Agreement: 763912
Duration: 36 months
Start date: 01/05/2018
The project official website
SMARTEES project is coordinated by the NTNU-Norvegian University of Science and Technology and it is carried out by a Consortium of 11 organisations from 10 countries. The project, which will run for 36 months, is aimed at improving the acceptance of the Energy Union by European citizens and to increase their responsiveness to socioeconomic incentives (in a perspective of an increased ownership, and prosumerism); and strengthening the inclusiveness and robustness of policymaking, thanks to empirically and theoretically grounded methodological tools to assess and adapt policy strategies.

SMARTEES addresses this need by adopting a multidisciplinary approach, through the integration of theories and methodologies of social innovation and agent-based socio-economic simulation in a comprehensive and flexible framework based on an empirical analysis of trans-European clusters of concrete cases of energy transition in 5 domains: holistic, shared and persistent mobility plan; renaissance based on renewable energy production; energy efficiency in district regeneration; urban mobility with super-blocks’; and fighting energy poverty through energy efficiency.

Each cluster is composed by a success case and few “followers” cases, enabling SMARTEES to study its replicability in different European contexts.

K&I is contributing to the whole project implementation. Moreover, it has the leadership of the WP3 “Clusters of case studies of social innovation”, aimed at understanding how social innovation works “in action” in each of the 5 clusters and at a superordinate level, providing information about phases, obstacles faced, facilitating factors, turning points etc.; and securing the constant involvement of the key innovation agents of each case study in the SMARTEES project to facilitate the co-construction of its findings and outputs.


«Look what the neighbours are doing ! Communities shaping sustainability» – SMARTEES Final Conference – September 14th, 2021

The SMARTEES Final Conference is scheduled next September 14th.
We should adopt an Hybrid format: a physical meeting in Groningen in the Forum building, but also with online streaming and discussion. However, if in September it is still not possible to hold the meeting “in person”, the meeting will be held in completely virtual mode.
Please consult the Conference Website and look the program.
You can register here.
At the Conference will be presented the main results of the SMARTEES project lasting over 3 years and centered on dynamics in energy- and mobility-related local social innovations in ten front-runner cities and islands across Europe. K&I will speak on the topic “A typology of social energy innovations in practice” during the session «Facilitating social innovation – a research perspective ».

Policy scenarios development workshop with Zurich and Groningen stakeholders

Since September 2020, SMARTEES started the implementation of five “policy scenarios development workshops”, one for each of its 5 reference clusters (Holistic mobility plans; Islands and renewable energy; District regeneration; Mobility in superblocks; Energy efficiency against fuel poverty – see ). The first of these workshops, titled “Restricting movement with a use of a certain modality”, was held remotely from September 21st to September 24th. It was organized jointly by RUG, ICLEI, and K&I involving local stakeholders of the cities of Groningen and Zurich. The workshop was based on two cases related to the mobility policy in Groningen and Zurich during the last decades: Noorderplantsoen park in Groningen and Limmatquai in Zurich (both relating to the closure of roads to car traffic as a result of a popular referendum). Starting from these cases and from the participants’ expertise, drivers and barriers to a mobility project’s success were discussed the first day (September 21st) trying to see how to mitigate certain risks and stimulate resident involvement. The second day of the workshop (September 24th) was focused on a computer simulation model presentation of the Groningen Noorderplantsoen case (that should inspire, later, a simulation model of the Zurich Limmatquai case) in a “Sandbox” tool that will allow to virtually play different scenarios and see what possible social outcomes of those scenarios would be.

SMARTEES webinar series started

The first webinar of the series titled “What’s new in social innovation and energy transitions?” (led by ICLEI), took place on 13 November 2019. Erica Löfström (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway), Søren Hermansen (Samsø Energy Academy, Denmark), and Frances Sprei (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden) shared their experiences with the representants of the local social innovations. Gabriele Quinti from K&I will be the speaker of the second webinar “Thinking ahead in local policies – Reflecting on shared patterns of successful transitions” scheduled next April 8th.
Click here for more information

SMARTEES findings presented to Eu-Level Policymakers

First Smartees findings were presented by Jed Cohen (Energy Institute at Johannes Kepler University Linz) at the European Commission’s workshop “How to address consumer or citizen engagement in the energy transition and the Set-Plan implementation” on 20 November 2019. The workshop brought together EU-level policymakers and five Horizon 2020 projects focused on the energy transition from the social science and humanities (SSH) perspective, namely Smartees, Shape Energy, Energy-Shifts, Echoes, and Energise.
Click here for more information

Policy brief on social innovation in the energy transition in action

On 30 May 2019, K&I finalised the draft of the first Smartees policy brief titled ” Social Innovation in the Energy Transition in Action”. This policy brief is based on a Europe-wide study into communities that have been experimenting with some basic features of a real low-carbon society at a local level (cities, neighborhoods, islands) in the frame of the Smartees project. These communities differ concerning their location in Europe, the types of “technological” innovation (spanning from transitions in traffic to investment in insulation), their socio-economic and environmental context (with consequences for the behavior of the involved people), and their duration and “seniority” (spanning from experiences starting in the ’70s of the last century and experiences still at an early stage today).
See also

Meeting on Zürich Case in SMARTEES

A meeting on the “Zürich case” (similar to that previously held in Groningen in November) was held in Zürich on February 5th 2019 in the framework of the SMARTEES project. Lorenzo Cavallasca, Cynthia Müller, Ruth Furrer and Barbara Burger (municipality of Zürich); Wander Jager and Patrycja Antosz (University College of Groningen/RUG); and Gabriele Quinti (K&I) participated in the meeting, overall devoted to the presentation of the SMARTEES project and a co-design of the activities to be implemented in Zürich in the context of the project. The discussion was focused, in particular, on the Zürich mobility strategy (implemented since the mid-1970s) and on some specific sub-projects or measures, such as the closure to traffic of a street in the historic centre of Zurich (Limmatquai) or the regulation for private parking. A close relation on the availability of data to be used for the development of a simulation model has been established between the municipality of Zürich and RUG. The mobility strategy adopted in Zürich belongs to one of the five social innovation clusters considered under the SMARTEES project, i.e., the cluster “Holistic, shared and persistent mobility plan”.

Meeting on Groningen Case in SMARTEES

A meeting on the “Groningen case” in SMARTEES has been held in Groningen last November 7th. Terry Albronda and Age Stinissen (Gemeente – municipality of – Groningen); Wander Jager and Patrycja Antosz (University College of Groningen); and Gabriele Quinti (K&I) participated in that meeting devoted to the presentation of the SMARTEES project and a co-design of the activities to be implemented in Groningen. The “Groningen case” belongs to the SMARTEES cluster “Holistic, shared and persistent mobility plan” and is based on the social innovation related to the trafic circulation policy in Groningen, since the conception and the launch of the Trafic Circulation Plan in the ‘70s. Today Groningen is a “bike city”: the average number of bikes per household is 3.1 (“Groningen invented a cycling template for cities all over the world”).

Followers Cases Visit in Zurich

On October 25 th 2018, Giovanni Caiati, member of the K&I research team in SMARTEES, participated in the Follower Cases on Site Visit to Zurich (CH). The aim of the visit was to present to four followers cities the Social Innovation experience developed in Zurich through the “Holistic, shared and persistent Mobility Plan”. The visit was organised by ICLEI, which is the leader of networking and communication activities in SMARTEES project. Representatives of the Cities of Trondheim (Norway), Izmir (Turkey), Burgas (Bulgaria), and Budapest (Hungary) participated in the visit as follower cities, i.e. cities interested to develop similar social innovation initiatives. The City of Zurich hosted the visit. During the visit two meetings were held, one for presenting the social innovation in Zurich, and one for discussing possible development of social innovation in the followers cities. Furthermore, different on-street level sites were visited, allowing to show how the Zurich Mobility Plan is able to combine social and technical aspects of innovation.
More infos on SMARTEES website

Meeting on the on-field research activities on Zurich Case Study

On October 24 th 2018, in Zurich Giovanni Caiati (K&I) met Lorenzo Cavallasca (City of Zurich), who is
responsible of SMARTEES project on behalf of the City of Zurich. The meeting was aimed at organising the
next steps of the SMARTEES on-field research activities but also at providing with a general update on
SMARTEES project, collecting further information on Zurich case, identifying the relevant stakeholders for
the in-depth intervies in the qualitative research, and finally at scheduling other meetings to be held in the next months. Indeed K&I is responsible of accompanying the on-field research activities to be carried out in Zurich throughout the project. The meeting was held at the Zurich City Government Headquarters.

SMARTEES at the turn of the first semester of activities

After six months from the start of SMARTEES, the activities of project are going on. In October the study visits in two of the cities so called “followers” took place: Vitoria Gasteiz in Spain and Zurich in Swizerland. In this regard it is to be noticed that in SMARTEES the “followers” cities are those which intend to promote some social innovation practices towards energy transition, on the basis of the experiences emerged from the 10 “supporting” and “reference” cases collected in SMARTEES project. These practices concern urban mobility, the energy independence and the regeneration of the urban areas based on renewable energy production. Moreover survey protocols are being finalised to carry out, in these 10 cases, the first phase of the field work (the “qualitative” research).

K&I is contributing to this, by supervising the activities in Zurich and working at the “qualitative research”, which is one of the activities of Work Package led by the organisation. Furthermore, K&I has taken care of the preparation of the Work Plans for each of the 10 “supporting” and “reference” cases and has developed, a very first draft of the social innovation profiles in these 10 cases, based on the documentary analysis. Finally, K&I contributed to the setting up of the theoretical framework of the project and to the launch of almost all the other activities of the project.

12th Society and materials international conference

Andrea Declich, a member of the K&I team of the SMARTEES project participated, on 22 and 23 of May 2018, at the 12th Society and Materials International Conference (SAM12) held in Metz, France ( Particularly, he chaired the second session titled “social sciences and materials” and also presented a paper on “Social cycle of Materials and Collective Actors: Some Ideas for Analysis”. The issue of materials is important also for studying the energy transition. The focus of the paper was on collective actors and the ways in which they are able to promote social innovation, not only in general but also in the context of energy policy and transition. Some ideas were proposed on how to deal with these issues.

SMARTEES Kick-Off meeting in Brussels

The SMARTEES Kick-Off Meeting (KoM) took place in Brussels on May 23 and 24 2018. The meeting, chaired by the SMARTEES coordinator Christian Klockner, has been mainly devoted to the Project’s General Assembly, with the participation of all the partners and the representatives of the “cases” considered by the Project. The final half-day of the meeting was devoted to the first Steering Committee, with the participation of the Work Packages leaders.
Getting a common understanding of the general SMARTEES work-plan and specifically of the tasks foreseen in the first year, of the interdependencies between the WPs, as well as of the SMARTEES “cases” (Aberdeen, Zürich, Groningen, Samsø, Stockholm, Malmø, Timisoara, Barcelona, Vitoria Gasteiz, El Hierro) were the main aims of the KoM.
During the meeting, Fabio Feudo shortly introduced “Knowledge and Innovation” while Giovanni Caiati presented of the WP3 (led by K&I) on “Clusters of Case Studies of social innovation”.